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I was born in 1972 while my father was in US Army training. He was drafted right at the end of the Vietnam War. I was a second son, 18 months younger than my older brother. Eventually there was a total of 4 boys and 2 girls. I was named Tyler Tane Huntzinger, Tané, for the Maori creation god. My father had spent two years in New Zealand as a young man. He was enamored with Polynesian culture and often shared what he learned and stories of this transformative experience with us from an early age. This fueled our imagination and we were all eager to explore the world.
As a young child I had a difficult time learning to speak. The reactions to my stammer prompted me to quit trying to speak for a while. My older brother, my constant companion, assumed the communication responsibilities for me, until I resumed talking when I was convinced the stutter would not be a problem any longer, and it wasn't.
We moved many times as I grew up. I rarely stayed in one school for more than a year. I was able to live for a couple of years in both Yuma, AZ, and Mililani, HI. Though it was always exciting, this frequent relocation likely exacerbated the profound academic problems caused by a later diagnosed learning disability. The academic problems caused behavior problems and a social stigma, separating me from almost any contact with my peers.
Most of my formative years were lived in different parts of Virginia. There, I often found myself retreating from a problematic childhood, alone or with siblings, to the "woods"; residual strips of undeveloped forest between the suburban houses, neighborhoods, and strip-malls. I became fascinated by the architecture of these forest ruins, and noticed I felt a kinship with the fauna also struggling to live among the humans. I was mostly to adulthood before I began to understand that everyone's childhood was disappointing on some level, and that most of us are left feeling detached and apart.
I completed a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from the University of Utah in 2000. I have since created quiet, moody-but-hopeful landscapes, and animal portraits using paints, resins, and pigments along with less traditional mediums such as bitumen (tar), microscopic glass beads, and metal flakes and powders. Through carefully preserved "random" results in the repetitively painted and dissolved surfaces, I strive for an effortless look to the deep constructions with effects similar to those of the ceramic Shino glazes I lost myself into for the final years of university.
The expansive but obscured vistas, flatted silhouettes, and melted forms of these paintings speak to the longing for connection so often associated with our increasingly technologically isolated society. It has always seemed to me that an aching empty longing for something just out of reach always feels uniquely personal to everyone, in every age.
That mysterious something I often symbolize with the form of birds. Birds I find especially emblematic of my lack of connection to this world. They are the "out of reach", the "other". They are so wholly uninterested in any interaction, and yet so alive and busy and alluring. Humans usually seem just as foreign, just as alluring, incomprehensible, and possibly arbitrary.
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